Since your septic tank is situated underground, you can’t see it, which means that it can be difficult to tell if it is functioning properly. Of course, you hope that everything is working the way that it should be, but unfortunately, issues do arise. Oftentimes, septic tank overflows seem to happen out of nowhere, catching homeowners by complete surprise; however, in most cases, the potential for overflow is lurking for a long time before a backup occurs.
As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense, and it certainly applies to septic tanks. If you know what it is that you should be on the lookout for, you can hopefully resolve any underlying issues before you are faced with a messy, inconvenient, dangerous, and costly overflow.
If you have a septic tank, here’s a look at some of the most common issues that you need to be aware of.
Damage from Roots
A lot of homeowners are surprised too when they find out that root systems from trees and shrubs can grow through the walls and pips of a septic system. Root systems are highly complex and strong, and they are continuously growing. They can easily penetrate a septic tank, which could cause a number of serious problems. The septic tank could overflow, or pipes could crack or become clogged.
Roots and septic systems don’t mix. If there are any trees or shrubs planted within close proximity to your septic system, it’s highly advisable to have them removed.
Damage from Vehicles
It goes without saying that vehicles weigh a tremendous amount. If they are parked on top of or drive over any septic tank components, extensive damage can occur. For instance, pipes, the lid to the tank, or the tank itself could crack, disrupting the function of the system. While cracks are certainly not ideal, in the worst case scenario, the weight of a vehicle could cause a septic tank to collapse!
Movement in the Ground
Even though you probably don’t notice it, the ground is constantly moving. Over time, the ground surrounding your septic system could shift and put a great deal of pressure on the pipes or the tank itself. This pressure could cause cracks or fractures to develop in the pipes or the walls of the tank. If this happens, the risk of backup increases, as groundwater could seep into the tank. Furthermore, waste could exit the cracks, penetrate the ground and contaminate groundwater.
Poor Design or Installation
In order for a septic system to function properly, its components have to be well-designed and installed correctly. A reputable cesspool installer will only use the best-quality components and will ensure cesspool installation is done the right way. However, if the cesspool company that installed the system cuts corners, isn’t knowledgeable, or uses poor-quality products, there’s a good chance that design and installation will be sub-par. When design and installation aren’t up to standard, there’s a strong likelihood that issues will develop down the road.
Failure to Maintain the System
Septic systems have to be maintained on a regular basis. Maintenance includes pumping, cleaning and inspecting the tank and all of its components. It not only removes the buildup of wastewater and sludge that have accumulated in the system, but it also allows any potential issues that exist – a small crack in a pipe, for example – to be caught and corrected before they become major problems.
All too often, issues with septic tanks occur because they weren’t properly maintained. Regular maintenance is the best way to prevent issues from occurring.
Exposing the Septic Tank to Hazardous Materials
Septic tanks are designed to process organic, biodegradable materials only. The bacterium within the tank breaks down these materials; however, it cannot break down items that are inorganic in nature. Flushing things down drains and toilets that a septic system cannot handle can increase the chances of clogs and overflow.
Some examples of things that should never be flushed into a septic tank include:
- Cigarette butts
- Feminine hygiene products
- Motor oil
- Latex, plastic, or metal
- Harsh chemicals
- Powdered detergents
Though this isn’t a comprehensive list of items that should never be flushed into a septic system, it does give a good idea of the materials that the system cannot properly handle.
If your property has a septic tank, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed after reading the above. However, it’s far better to be educated about potential problems. When you’re aware of possible issues, you can plan for the future by ensuring your system is regularly maintained.
Just because a septic system is out of sight, it doesn’t mean it should be out of mind. If you are in need of maintenance for your cesspool and you live or work in West Hills, contact Long Island Cesspool at (631) 529-2149. We have been servicing the residents and business owners of the area for more than a decade and have developed an excellent reputation. Whether you are located near West Hills County Park or off of Round Swamp Road, our technicians will be able to reach your destination in no time via Route 25. We offer emergency services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are capable of handling any septic tank – or cesspool-related job.
For high-quality waste removal services that you can count on, look no further than Long Island Cesspool!